Death and Dying A diverse selection
of helpful teachings on death and dying from the Shambhala Sun magazine. Just click any article's title to read further.
Larry Rosenberg explains how contemplating our death can transform the way we live.
Four Buddhist health practitioners — Barbara Rhodes, Jan
Chozen Bays, David Shlim, and Mitchell Levy — discuss how relaxing our hopes and
fears about health, sickness and death can lessen our suffering and help us
recognize that, whatever happens, our true nature is always healthy.
Before you can answer the question, “What will happen to me
after I die?”, Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says you need to answer another
question, “What is happening to me in the present moment?” Examining this
question is the essence of meditation. If we don’t know how to look deeply to
what is happening to us in the here and the now, how can we know what will
happen to us when we are dead?
“Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain,
what is the most important thing?” asks best-selling author and teacher, Pema
Chodron. Throughout our day we can pause, take a break from our usual thoughts,
and wake up to the magic and vastness of the world around us. This easy and
spacious type of mindfulness practice is the most important thing we can do
with our lives.
Pema Chodron offers her unique perspective on The Way of the Bodhisattva, Shantideva’s
classic description of the Mahayana path. Here she addresses one of the most
important of all spiritual questions—how to free ourselves from the powerful
spell of emotional afflictions.
Home to care for his dying mother, Zen teacher John Tarrant
discovers what it means for himself and those around him to give up picking and
In the midst of great personal pain and confusion, says Sylvia
Boorstein, we can be alive to the momentary gaps where our minds change course.
In these gaps, all kinds of experience— compassion, insight, even humor—can
"I'm certain that compassion
is the only possible response to pain,” says Sylvia Boorstein, “yet I still
sometimes become resentful when I or someone else is suffering."
A blossom’s beauty is undiminished by the true, sad fact
that it won’t last forever, maybe not very long at all. When Kathleen Willis
Morton’s baby dies, she learns to appreciate the flower-like beauty of his
Novelist Ruth Ozeki’s touching memoir of life in a Japanese-American
family is also a profound meditation on love, stories, and the difference
between losing and letting go.
"To write," says award-winning novelist Dede
Crane, "I get a good daydream going and write it down." Here is her
short story about death, Buddhism, and almond canoes.
In this memoir of her mother’s death, Mariana Caplan says there
are thousands of moments each day in which we are offered the opportunity to
practice surrendering to what is: to the traffic keeping us from an
appointment, to another’s suffering, to an unpleasant thought, to the many
things that do not go the way we would like. All these moments provide an
opportunity to engage life in the moment, surrendering to it as it is, as well
as preparing for death and the call for final surrender.
Her masterpiece The
Year of Magical Thinking is a meditation on the human mind both pointed and
profound. In that year following her husband’s death she learned in her bones
the basic truths we so often deny—death, impermanence, and aloneness. David
Swick profiles Joan Didion, a great American journalist observing her own mind
When we face difficult circumstances — as so many people do
these days — fear can overwhelm us. Carolyn Rose Gimian shows us how we can discover
the fearlessness of the great meditators — by welcoming fear as a precious
opportunity to open up and let go. And that can make us smile.
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